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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Daily LIFT #283

Mary Wallace on her first shift as Chicago's first female bus driver -- Daily LIFT #283

Mary Wallace applied repeatedly for 3 years to be a bus driver in Chicago until the transit authority relented and finally hired her in 1974.

"I used to work for the Planning & Placement Center when I was going to college, and we had job orders for CTA bus drivers. So I decided I wanted to check this out for myself, and I did. I went for three years, and they kept saying no, we can’t hire women, we don’t have facilities for women, so you have to do something else. I said I don’t want to do something else. I want to drive a bus. After three years of harassing them, they finally sent me a letter saying they would consider (not saying hire) me. They wanted me to come down and take some test, and I did not hear from them for about three or four months, and then I got a another letter saying I would be hired as a driver. After that, the rest is history."

She ended up working for the CTA for 33 years and becoming a supervisor.


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